SCOUTING IN SWITZERLAND
PFADIBEWEGUNG SCHWEIZ MOUVEMENT SCOUT DE SUISSE
SWISS SCOUT MOVEMENT
Scouting was founded in Switzerland in 1912 and was recognized by the World Bureau (WOSM) in 1922. Current membership is reported to be 31,553 registered Scouts.
The Swiss Scout Movement is mixed at all levels. The only thing that still reminds of the old separation between girl and boy scouts is that girl Rovers are (still) called Rangers. The Swiss Federation of Scouts and the Swiss Federation of Girl Guides merged in 1987 to form the Swiss Scout Movement.
The young age of our leaders is a tradition. Even members of the district or national committees are rarely older than 30. The result: more freedom at the unit level, no discrimination, and a very important experience in leadership for young people.
Special scout units include Sea Scouts around the major lakes and PTA Scouts for handicapped kids (PTA means "Scouts despite all" in German).
The mandatory parts of our uniform are the shirt, the tie, any kind of good hiking boots, a fire lighter and a Swiss army knife. Optional parts are belt, scout jeans, hat, dagger, etc. A kid receives his/her tie and vulgo (scout name) from his unit leader in an initiation ceremony.
Troops, patrols and packs meet every Saturday afternoon for 3-4 hours. We spend 98% of our time outside in the woods or in the field. I get inside with my cubs three or four times a year, when the weather is clearly unbearable (temperature below -25 Celsius or snowstorm). Otherwise, we're outside.
The Swiss Scout Movement is a member of J & S, a governmental institution, which promotes sports among youths. Camps for kids in the 12-18 age range are, subsidized by J & S, and we also receive some basic material (tents, denim square units, ropes) from J & S for these occasions. J & S is also deeply involved in leader training (because unit leaders are basically special youth sport trainers).
A major challenge for the national committees (and every nationwide company) is that Switzerland is divided in four language areas. As a result, there's not too much documentation available from National. There's no national scouting handbook per se. There's a handbook on scouting techniques which is edited by our council and has become the de facto reference book distributed by National. This book however is purely technical and does not handle the human and ethical aspects of scouting.
Scouts- ages 10 to 18
Rover/Ranger Scouts-ages 17 to 25+
Leaders- ages 18 to 30+
The reason why the age groups overlap is because we move a Scout to the next level according to his/her maturity, not his/her age.
Ich will mich fuer meine Gruppe einsetzen und mein bestes tun, nach dem Pfadigesetzt zu leben. Ich bitte Gott und euch alle, mir dabei zu helfen.
I promise to do my best to live by the Scout Law. I ask God and my friends to help me reach this goal.
Ein Pfadfinder ist ehrlich gegenueber sich und andern
Ein Pfadfinder steht zu seinem Glauben und achtet den Glauben anderer
Ein Pfadfinder traegt sorge zur natur und allem leben
Ein Pfadfinder hilft wo er kann
Ein Pfadfinder ist ein guter kamerad
Ein Pfadfinder nimmt sich zusammen
Ein Pfadfinder kann sich in die gemeinschaft einfuegen
Ein Pfadfinder uberwindet schwierigkeiten mit humor
Ein Pfadfinder kann verzichten
Ein Pfadfinder ist bereit, verantwortung zu tragen
A Scout is honest towards him/herself and others
A Scout stands to his/her belief and respests the belief of others
A Scout takes care of nature and all living things
A Scout helps whenever he/she can
A Scout is a good companion
A Scout keeps his/her self-control
A Scout can integrate him/herself in the community
A Scout overcomes difficulties with humor
A Scout can renounce
A Scout is ready and willing to take responsibility
If you have any additional information, please send it to me at:
Last updated on 10/13/98